Sorry or not: Duterte keeps people guessing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The swashbuckling mayor of Davao City had the people confused again on Tuesday (April 19) over his stance — this time, about a recent rape comment that drew flak and attention in and out of the country.

The confusion stemmed from conflicting statements from Rodrigo Duterte's camp and Duterte himself.

But the 71-year-old mayor made it clear: he is not apologizing for the joke that caught international ire and attention.

Watch: Duterte draws flak for rape 'joke'

Duterte, who was in Iloilo City, said he was sorry for the gruesome crime of rape and killing of hostages that happened in his city back in 1989.

But he emphatically said he was not sorry for the controversial remark he recently reprised about the tragedy.

In fact, he defended the rape joke by saying it was uttered in a burst of anger at the criminals.

"Huwag nyo nang ipilit dahil hindi talaga ako mag-a-apologize," Duterte said while blurting out another invective.

[Translation: "Don't force the issue because I will never really apologize."]

However, Duterte mentioned something about apologizing "a long time ago," but added, he was definitely not apologizing at present.

No hand in apology statement

Earlier in the day, Duterte's political party issued a statement saying the mayor was sorry for the rape remark, which he recounted during a Quezon City sortie last Wednesday.

But the mayor said he knew nothing about this statement released by PDP-Laban.

Related: Duterte's rape slur may affect his presidential bid — analyst

The night before, Duterte again defended his rape remark by saying it was "gutter language" and that was how people like him who were not born rich or not "conyo" spoke.

So, is he sorry or not?

Later Tuesday evening still in Iloilo, Duterte flip-flopped again. For now, he said he was.

When reporters asked him, "Sir, did you read that statement? Did you approve that statement," he replied: "Yes."

Until Duterte clearly sticks to his word on the issue, people will keep on guessing.

Not the first time

It can be recalled that the mayor also had the whole country at a loss was when he flip-flopped a number of times on whether he was running for president or not.

Related: Duterte under fire for comment on Pope Francis

Last year, Duterte's remark also sowed confusion when he hurled invectives at Pope Francis over the mammoth traffic jam that the papal visit had caused. The statement drew flak, prompting him to say that he did not direct his cursing at the pope but it was aimed at the hellish gridlock.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report.